Last night was one of those dinner experiences that tests someone in my type of addiction recovery program.
The scene: I’ve just checked into my hotel room in Washington D.C., where I’m attending the ShmooCon security conference. I venture downstairs in search of dinner.
I run into a group of friends from the security industry and they invite me out with them for dinner. I’m glad to see them and I’m hungry, so I accept.
I have a pleasant 1/2-mile walk to the restaurant. After 14 hours riding an RV through five states, it’s good to stretch my limbs.
We arrive at the location to see a CVS drug store. On second glance, the restaurant is literally a hole in the side of CVS’s wall. But we’ve eaten at odder places, so in we go.
They keep us waiting what seems like a long time for a table that looks like it’s been clean and ready for awhile now. OK, maybe they have their reasons. And I am enjoying the company I’m with.
But it’s been a long day and I’m really starting to fade. Dinner after 8 is risky when you’ve been up since 4 a.m. One friend notes that I’m quieter than usual.
We finally sit down and I look at the menu. There seems to be very little I can eat with my food program, but I chalk it up to not being well versed with sushi. I play it safe and go for a pork dish, because it seems like the best choice at the time. It’s waaay after 9 p.m. before they put a narrow plate in front of me with two tiny skewers of pork and a bowl of rice.
Meanwhile, I look at some of the sushi dishes my friends have ordered, and I realize some of those selections would have been a much better fit for my program. I fidget with my phone, because in a situation like that I get particularly fidgety.
I sit there feeling like the dope that I am at that moment. I’m also pissed because it got too late to call my wife, who I hadn’t seen since the night before. When I’m away, we almost never miss catch-up time on the phone.
I did what I needed to do: Paid for my part of the meal and got out of there as fast as I could.
The night ended with my program intact. But it was a reminder that when you can only eat certain things, you have to plan ahead.
A wise person once told me that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
I’ll add a new one for you: If you see a restaurant built into the side of a drug store, walk past it and choose someplace else.
The night still ended on a high note. Like I said, I enjoyed the company of my dinner companions. I got to run into some old friends later on in the hotel bar.
And I lived to fight another day.
Sometimes, that’s how I roll.
But it was a close call for a reformed compulsive binge eater.